A Story From My Life, Part 1: The Sins of the Fathers

We were brought up in a seriously dysfunctional family situation. Our father was a child batterer and Mom was his enabler. He was a terrible father, really. Father was also a miser. He wouldn't spend money on his kids. Our own father didn't seem to like us kids, at all. It seemed we were "extra mouths to feed"; an impossible burden.

It is said that the sins of the fathers are visited on their children. Father made us pay for his sins by beating us.

When I was five and my sister Carole was six, she got whooping cough. It really isn't surprising--our bedroom was unheated and the snow lay deep in the fields of the farm where we grew up.

Mom decided to isolate me. She didn't want me catching it, too. She made a little nest of blankets on the floor in Louie's room, put down a pillow, and told me not to go in the bedroom I shared with my sister.

I was only five at the time, and I wasn't very aware, but I remember clearly dragging my blankets and my pillow to just outside our bedroom door, and making my bed there. I wanted to be as close to my sister as I was allowed to be. I pressed my ear to the door panel, listening to my sister breathe. I listened to her loud, rasping rales; I heard her rouping cough that seemed to go on forever. I was trying to help her breathe, through the door.

My sister was one very sick girl.

Mom tried to get Father to let a doctor come. Dad refused categorically.Father was a fundamentalist; "Mortify the flesh to exalt the spirit" was a favorite saying of his, especially as applied to his children. He turned Mom down, flat, and forbade her to call a doctor.

Our father could rationalize ANYTHING! Father was a fundamentalist who also believed in evolution; probably the only fundamentalist Darwinist on the planet. Dad said that one day of the six days of creation could last for a millennium. So, the Bible was literally true but had to be interpreted broadly.

Father said to Mother, "Carole's the runt of the litter. It's natural selection if she dies."

Both my sister and myself remember him saying this, and repeating it, or words to this effect, more than once, over the next week or so as Carole got sicker and sicker and sicker.

She wasn't getting any better by herself. She was getting worse every day.

Mom was getting uneasy. I was permanently camped outside our door, off to one side to try and stay out of the traffic on the stairs, with my ear pressed to the wall when it couldn't be pressed to the door, to hear my sister breathe.

Dad was getting mad. He had planned a vacation in a few days, and didn't want this to ruin it. His vacation took him down south, away from winter. Father hated to have his plans interfered with.

I went unnoticed, pressed against the wall. I saw Father go into Carole's room. He was carrying the stick he used to beat us with. I heard his voice rising in anger, through the open door. I came up to the threshold of the door, and saw what was happening, but, God help me, I was too much of a coward and too terrified of Dad to even try to intervene on behalf of my sister. Even now, I feel ashamed and guilty for being so yellow--for being too afraid to try to do something, to try to stop him, to try to help her. It seemed like he hated her and wanted her to die.

Dad hauled Carole out of bed and started beating on her, insisting that she was malingering, telling her to get her clothes on and get to school. He was angry, so angry.

Carole couldn't stand up. She was too weak to stand up. She couldn't suppress her coughing in front of Dad, though I could see she was trying, valiantly. She was completely unable to dress herself. Dad started beating her, and he beat her until she became unconscious. I thought her breath had stopped. I thought she was dying.

And I stood there, unable to move, paralyzed with fear.

Mom then persuaded Dad to take her and a couple of the older children on vacation anyway. She convinced Dad that Carole was getting better and it would be a matter of time before she was well enough to go back to school. She persuaded my Aunt Helen to come and stay with the younger children while she and Dad and two of the older children who were still at home went on vacation with them.

The minute the car disappeared from the bottom of the driveway, turning onto the road, my Aunt Helen got on to the phone to the doctor.

The doctor came; I lurked curiously during his visit but wasn't allowed into the room, and the door was closed.

The doctor came out of the room, shaking his head.

I accosted him on the stairs. I grabbed the hem of his suit jacket, saying, "Is she gonna die? Is she gonna die?"

He extracted himself as gently as possible from my clutch. I was reluctant to let go until he answered my question. My mind was full of the greatest fear I had ever known--the fear of losing my sister.

He just shook his head.

My Aunt Helen got the medicine--antibiotics--that saved Carole's life.

Carole told me later on that she did see the tunnel of light, and that it was beautiful, and she came near it but didn't go into it; then it faded to a beautiful dream.

I know my mother did the right thing for Carole. She got Dad away from there and got Aunt Helen in there, to get the doctor to come, to get Carole the medicine, to save Carole's life.

Mom did it, without a bother on her. She left a sick child behind her not knowing whether she was going to come back to a child who was getting better or to a child who was dead.

Mom enjoyed her vacation. She was away from the most demanding parts of her life as a housewife and mother; she was out on the road, seeing and experiencing new surroundings and a change of scene, and she was headed south, away from the cold grip of winter.

That isn't to say she didn't think of Carole. I'm sure she did. But she was able to handle any of her children's troubles, hurt and pain very calmly--very dismissively. She would get more upset by having her will crossed by one of her children, for example, than she would get upset by a threat to her child or her child's life.

That is how Mom stayed there for us; it was how she stayed sane. Her feelings for her children were muted--or often hostile. She often complained of the trouble having so many children cost her; how expensive we were; how we kept outgrowing clothes. How painful childbirth was. The various birth control methods that didn't work of which we were the result. (I was a rhythm baby). She couldn't remember our names and continuously got our names wrong. This is from the time we were little--it wasn't a function of age, as she claims now.

It was a coping mechanism, I'm sure. This lack of feelings for her children. She couldn't afford to have to many feelings. They would overwhelm her, then where would her children be?

I'm sure Mom did love us, and does love us, in some part of herself, in her own way. Mom has been through a lot; she's seen a lot; and it has shaped her, warped her, hardened her, conditioned her to accept things that are unacceptable to a more modern mind. But I'm sure she's a survivor, too, partly because of this attitude.

As for Dad's role in this, well, I think Dad was one very disturbed man, especially at this time of his life. I don't think he was completely sane, then. I attribute much of his brutality to his children to untreated temporary insanity. No sane person would beat a child with a stick who was too sick to get out of bed. No sane parent would write off his sick child's life like that, when he had the resources to do something about it.

Both parents seem callous to more modern people; but then Mom was nearly 40 when I was born; she was married when she was 19; she could have been my grandmother. She herself, and both my parents, were born and brought up in an age that was more callous and less indulgent towards children. "Spare the rod, spoil the child." "Children should be seen and not heard."

But then there's a line that even other people of my parents' generation didn't seem to cross, that Mom and Dad did cross, repeatedly. A level of coldness, cruelty, battering and neglect that my parents had (and have) no conscience about crossing. They never realized, and my mother will never realize, what they did.

Good can come from evil.

My brothers and sisters had children, and they were better parents to their children than our parents were to us. I'm sure we all remembered what we suffered as children, and wouldn't willingly inflict those sufferings on another human being, especially a child. If there were times when our tempers got the better of us, then we remembered, and mercy stayed our hands.

My nieces and nephews turned out great! Wonderful, beautiful people. My mother truly does love her grandchildren; it's safe for her to do so; the pressure is off--the heat is off. Nothing extraordinary is required of Mom from her grandchildren.

I'd like to share with you a piece of music from You Tube. It reminds me of music performed by my nephew Michael, who is an excellent, conservatory-trained, classical guitarist. He recorded a CD in memory of my brother (his father) who is no longer with us. The CD is called "Chronicles", and goes through time, from earlier periods of music to modern.

Time passes, and time heals, and a new generation comes.

Pachelbel, Canon in D

More by this Author


Comments 63 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much for your kind words, Ahorseback. I really appreciate your moral support.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 4 years ago

Pardise , As I listen and re-read , I believe that the hardest experience is the hardest to tell. Yet you open your soul here for all to see. You my dear , are awsesome ,do you know that right?....:-}


calico Stark profile image

calico Stark 4 years ago from Earth for the time being

I was really touched by your story! Thank you so much for sharing it, I know it couldn't have been easy. I worked as a Family Preservation Specialist. Though I got to spend time with children who were mistreated, I believe it would be most effective if their lost voices had someone to write their narrative. The authorities could then take in every whimper, every cry. It brings a much deeper impact than just the facts of an incident. I was moved by your genuine voice of self- reflection as you traveled down this road. I want to continue the journey with you and will return to read more! Heartfelt hub, Vote up!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Peanut Butter Wine.


PeanutButterWine profile image

PeanutButterWine 5 years ago from North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

I am speechless by this journey I took with you, and humbled by your beautiful ability to forgive and see beyond what is an incredibly ugly traumatic experience. Beautiful Hub, well written and emotionally gripping ...


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for the comment, Phil. Sometimes that's a valuable lesson we get from our parents--what NOT to do, how we DON'T WANT TO BE!

We have to be careful not to let the pendulum swing too far the opposite way, though.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

Different and difficult times. It is good that you and your siblings survived and even better that you did not continue in a way that resembled your own upbringing.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much. You, too!!


danielchakraborty profile image

danielchakraborty 6 years ago from Bangalore

I'm going to read all your stuff from now on. What a brilliant writer you are...


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much for that lovely and loving comment, sarmack. No, I never had children of my own. I had stepchildren from my first husband's previous marriage, and that was enough for me to satisfy my maternal instincts.

I still should have done better. I can't help feeling that, and may do so for the rest of my life.


sarmack profile image

sarmack 6 years ago from Washington

I may have missed it, but I am wondering: did you never have children of your own? You have the ability to bring much Healing to others with your Strength.

The guitar music is beautiful, also.

You know, I have been thinking about your comment concerning your lack of defending your sister. You are still close to your sister. I was the eldest of 4 daughters. From the time my sisters began being born, I defended their honor. They have never appreciated what I gave up to defend and protect them. I no longer have them in my life. so... perhaps, it is best that we stay out of some things. If we just cannot, we must accept the consequences. Were the actions we took of such importance that we are willing to give that person up, healthy and happy because of our actions, for the rest of our life? I have accepted this and confirmed for myself that I could not have looked myself in the mirror if I had not been the one to speak out when my sister was pregnant and ill and not being cared for appropriately... and many, many other instances. I miss them very much. Enjoy your sister and be Blessed with the fact that you did what was appropriate at the time, with the capabilities you had at your disposal! God Bless!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for the kind, understanding and gracious comment, Internetwriter.


Internetwriter62 profile image

Internetwriter62 6 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

When I started your biography, I expected to read about your usual childhood, yours was not a usual childhood. You really had to endure some heavy suffering when, you were a child. Your father had some deep issues, certain beliefs and ideologies can lead to insane conclusions and actions. To beat up a sick child is going beyond the beyonds, I can see you have found a way to forgive him or at least you have found a reason for his actions.

I hope you have forgiven your mother for not leaving him and protecting you and your siblings that way. Of course, I just started reading your biography so I guess I'll get to that part. Your journey is truly amazing and I'm grateful that you have decided to share it with us. Excellent hub.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank YOU, Mike. I'm glad to have this stuff out in the open. We bottled it up and hid it for way too long.


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 6 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

I had been intending to start reading these hubs for awhile, and decided I would start tonight. This is a pretty intense chapter one, I must say. You have me curious as to what is coming next. I hope you benefit from writing about these times, and from the support you have received from others here. Thanks for sharing your story.

Mike


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you! I just found you, too!


Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

I just found you and I will be reading more.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Justine. I appreciate that you're following through.


Justine76 6 years ago

:) Im just checking here and there and off to read the rest.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

What can I say, Justine? You are so kind, and I appreciate it. You, too, are loved.


Justine76 6 years ago

Hi Paradise, next time your not sure if your a "good writer" come back here, read your comments again. I know what yo mean about begin "yellow" and ashamed, I know it all too well. Try to remember you were just a lite child. Its hard for those of us who were not loved properly by their parents to ever feel capable of being loved as adults, but you are. You most certaiinly are loved.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much for coming to visit these hubs. I'm still looking for the courage to continue, and in the meantime am VERY interested in what you've written...


mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago

Your story here is wrenching, and knowing that there are ups and downs in everyone's lives I suppose the rest of your chapters in your story are gonna be pulling me every which way - but it does inspire me to write some personal stuff I haven't really done before - its hard because you kinda relive it when you write it, don't you? Still, its good to know you are not alone in experiencing stuff like this - and you are not alone - it helps so much that you are an excellent writer! well done - now for part 2!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, mythbuster...It's really a little strange to go back there in my memory.


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

The music is wonderful...brought tears to my eyes. The storry/account is horrible...brought tears to my eyes. (The writing is wonderful - what happened to you and your family is horrible)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Ah, thank you, Jen.


Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware

Wow, I'm speechless and YOU, you are amazing my friend!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you again, my friend.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

Paradise7, This is quite heartwrenching! You have expressed this is in such a non threatening yet candidly truthful way. It is very sad how very disturbed your father was; your Mom was just in a survival mode... Still there is not excuse! My heart goes out to you! Many Hugs to you!

How thoughtful of you to be so concerned and considerate of your sister... You are one loving and strong young lady!

Beautiful tribute song for your brother! So glad that this does not have a sad ending. You are a wonderful writer! Thank you for opening sharing, In His love & Blessings


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Tammy.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

My heart literally stopped beating when I got to the part about your sister. No child or anyone for that matter should have to had gone through what you did. This was a very moving well written story. Kudos! Tammy


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Yeah, marcel, nutcase about covers it. They are them. Nobody gets to pick their parents. And, parents don't get to pick their kids. It's a giant lottery I guess, and I think we lost on the front end but picked up steam later on.


marcel285 profile image

marcel285 6 years ago from New Zealand

You're dad sounds like a complete nut case, and you're mum, not much better.

What a horrible experience! But i'm sure you got goodness out of it, if only knowing the difference between right and wrong. It's these sort of terrible experiences that help us to grow, as individuals, and to become stronger and balanced.

Thanks for sharing.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Trose. I have trouble getting past some things, but writing about them helps, and keeps things in better perspective. Thank you for your flattering and feeling comment.


trose 6 years ago

I am speechless...I can't believe it's taken me this long to read this story.

I know I will read the rest in the series as you are a terrific writer and inspiring woman. Your strength courage shines and I thank you for it. :) You are making a difference...


Dale Mazurek profile image

Dale Mazurek 6 years ago from Canada

What a sad story but unfortunately a story we hear way too often from times gone bad.

You are a brave person for reliving this with your words.

You are also a very talented writer.

Your hub was reccommended for my blog and a good suggestion it was.

You can find the link to my blog on my profile page if interested in seeing it.

Cheers

Dale


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, luvsbooks. I appreciate your comment. I'm up to #6 in the series, posted today.


luvzbooks profile image

luvzbooks 7 years ago from Tennessee, USA

Wow, what a story. Thanks for having the guts to write such a personal, heart-wrenching account. I am touched!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Duchess for your insightful comment. It helps.


Duchess OBlunt 7 years ago

Paradise, I had difficulty reading this. I needed to know what happened to your sister, but I hurt for you. I hope that by writing these notes to your Hub fans (and the rest of the world) that you are able to see you have nothing to feel guilty about. You each had to deal with these things in the way that meant you could survive. I'm glad to know you and your sister are so close. Sounds like you needed each other.

Thanks for being brave and sharing your story.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Gree Lotus. I liked your hub, and voted appropriately!


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Great writing Paradise. I was truly moved. I will read-on.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, tim-tim.


tim-tim profile image

tim-tim 7 years ago from Normal, Illinois

I will spend a lot of time reading you hubs! Great writing and photos. I got a feeling that you are an Artist as well:)


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Ah, ralwus. It's ok, in the end it's ok. Thank you for the comment.


ralwus 7 years ago

I'm completely overwhelmed


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much for the comments, creative one and Jaspal. Yes, I do believe our Dad was mentally unstable, and since Mom was so subject to Dad, it affected her adversely, too. It was hard but now thank God it IS in the past. We CAN get past these things, learn from them, and move on to share a better way of thinking and feeling with other people.


Jaspal profile image

Jaspal 7 years ago from New Delhi, India

Phew, it's hard to even imagine such cruelty...

I don't think any parent - whether father or mother - can behave in such manner unless he is mentally unstable. God is great ... despite all that you all underwent, you and your siblings have grown up to be good humans who are now making a difference in this callous and unkind world.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you for your candor about your family, sometimes we learn hard lessons in life but doesn't mean they don't love us any less. thank you for sharing. creativeone59


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 7 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you for your candor about your family, sometimes we learn hard lessons in life but doesn't mean they don't love us any less. thank you for sharing. creativeone59


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Oh, yes, I agree with you, Laura. I think you caught it exactly.


Laura du Toit profile image

Laura du Toit 7 years ago from South Africa

I can only imagine that your mother must have been one terrified lady. Heaven knows what happened between them that could make a mother build a wall between herself and her children. I would think it was a means of not only protecting them from a disturbed father but also as a means of protecting herself.

Unstable people often try to hurt people near to them by hurting people close to those - be it out of jealousy or just as a form of emotional battering. Your mother more than likely saved you from a lot of trauma by distancing herself from her children.


Paradise7 7 years ago

Yes, I know. Growing up also means compromising with the less-than-ideal reality of adult life. I have come a long way, with the help and example of some fine people in this world. I try to hold a line in my life of fairly high principles of action, though I don't always succeed.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 7 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Well I hope you can stop beating up your 5 year old self. In my adult life I've definitely experienced both, inaction, and adverse consequences from action, though right. I guess life is that way. Certainly military life is.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Hello, RM! You know, I thank God every day I still have my sister. I don't know how either of us would have got through the years without each other. Even though I intellectually realize I couldn't have stood up to my dad, emotionally I have judged and found myself guilty for not protecting someone so innocent and good and so desperately in need of protection. It was wrong of me not to try, no matter what the consequences to myself. There are times when what's right matters more than what happens to us, and this was one of those times. Even as a little person I recognized it and was too paralyzed with fear to act. I don't want that to be a trend in my adult life, for certain.

My folks were misguided, their perspectives seem so askew in ways that can't be fixed to me as an adult.

I never read "People of the Lie". That goes on my book list, too.


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 7 years ago from San Antonio Texas

I was practically holding my breath. I am so glad your sister survived. As an adult, I'm sure you now realize as a 5 year old you couldn't stand up to your dad. What a misguided sense of religion and morality your folks had. Have you ever read a book, People of the Lie by Scott Peck?


Catherine R profile image

Catherine R 7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

I think your one a week hub is just a great idea. Small bites are probably the best way for you to tackle all this stuff as it must be draining to have to dredge up all the memories. I am absolutely confident that you will have a great book at the end of it. I really like your writing style and the way that you are handling this awful stuff in quite a philosophical manner. Thanks for the wishes to my boy - he is talented but could practice more! But that's another story....


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Advisor, you're one of the ones who KNOW, because you've been there, too, and come out the other side. Kudos to you, too. I know you are a much better parent to your children and love them and would never hurt them or be callous to them, and THAT'S what makes it all worth while. Please remember these words whenever you feel sad or lost or lonely. I'm on your side. And I'm sure YOUR kids are turning out beautiful, too.

Catherine R: Thank you so much for your kind words. It is harrowing. My plan is to write one of these a week, and after a year, see if I can pull these particular hubs into a book. You kind words, thoughts and feelings help me so much to continue with this goal.

I love the fact your son is a classical guitarist. Isn't it the most beautiful music? You must be just soooo proud of your son. Wish him well for me in all his endeavors, but most especially in his music.


Catherine R profile image

Catherine R 7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

What a harrowing story. I am really at a loss for words. Your father was clearly a deeply deeply disturbed individual. At least in the case of your family the abuse cycle has ended and you can now look back and say that 'time passes and time heals'. Such brave writing.

I love that you included that beautiful guitar piece. I know that music well as my son is a young classical guitarist. Now of course the piece will take on a new meaning for me as it will be associated with your story.


advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 7 years ago from On New Footing

My father was similar to yours, although I have to say that I don't remember him beating me when I was sick. I think your father had some deeper issues, just like mine did.

It know that it was very hard for you to watch that happen to your sister. I can say that the few times I stood up to my dad, I was chased out of the house at gunpoint or knifepoint. He did knock my sister across the yard when she was only about five, for trying to stop him from hitting my mom.

My mom was the one who got most of the beatings. I was second. My sister was the favorite. He was a little more softhearted toward her. We also have a brother, and he was the youngest.

It can be very hard to pull through that kind of childhood. Living through that volume of abuse can be devastating. My father committed suicide after my mom finally left him.

I also tend to choose abusive men, so I have shied away from relationships since I left my husband in January. Now that I have children of my own, I don't want to chance having a boyfriend abuse them. Although I have met several people, I think I tend to sabotage anything that might develop on an unconscious level.

I used to get pretty depressed about my childhood, feeling I had been cheated out of a "normal" life and a "normal" relationship, that I had not learned how to recognize a "healthy" relationship from an "unhealthy" relationship. I had someone who treated me well at one point, but I didn't realize it.

Expressing my feelings and venting about my past was healthy. I think what you are doing is healthy. When you are able to realize that the pain you endured was not okay, you are breaking free of that pain. Kudos!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much, Veronica and dohn, for your support. I can't tell you what it means to me.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Thank you for sharing this wonderful, personal story about love, miracles, and misunderstanding. Your love for your sister helped to cure her whooping cough, Paradise7. Good for you for being strong at such a young age and being strong again for writing this.


Veronica Allen profile image

Veronica Allen 7 years ago from Georgia

You are a truly brave individual to share this. Ironically, there are so many children that are going through what you have already been through. No doubt your story will; if anything; help them see that they are not alone. Your life experience moved me to tears. It's amazing though, how strong children really are. And it's great to see that you and your siblings turned out okay and we're more determined not to repeat the vicious cycle.

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